Project (Greater Than) Me and Kids in Action
ProAct Indy
ProAct Indy is a champion of service learning, collaborating with community leaders and professional organizations to provide community outreach service projects for economically disadvantaged youth in Marion County in Indiana and beyond. Our mission is to engage youth in public service that educates, delights, and inspires the youth and those they serve. We work directly with economically disadvantaged children and youth in Central Indiana. Partner schools are asked to target students who are struggling with significant life changes such as loss of a parent, self-esteem and behavioral issues, and students who consistently earn an average grade of C+ or lower because we know that without positive intervention, these students are at risk to struggle academically and make poor life decisions. Since its inception, over 4,000 disadvantaged boys and girls have collectively provided over 15,000 hours of community service in over 200 community projects. Projects have featured building ramps for those with disabilities, providing dinners for the homeless, art projects with the elderly, writing letters to veterans, planting trees for the environment, and orchestrating field days for people with disabilities. Perhaps one of the most important and unique aspects about our programs is that our youth are not the recipients of community service, they are the givers and creators of the projects that help build and support our community. Working alongside Indianapolis professional groups, organizations, and volunteers, students are exposed to diverse communities and experiences that they otherwise would not have access to. Furthermore, participating youth collaborate with members of the community during the planning process. With community input, involvement, and investment, we are able to tackle old problems in new ways and ensure that the projects we do are not only beneficial to the young people carrying them out, but that they also have a positive and lasting impact on the community. Our kids know that community involvement is an integral part of their success because this is where they live, learn, and work. We believe young people are not only capable of being change-makers in their communities, but that they are ready for that empowerment. Moreover, we believe that empowerment through service leadership experiences is essential to healthy development. The American Psychological Association (APA) states that children and teens from low-income households are at greater risk for several negative outcomes, such as poor academic achievement, school dropout, behavioral and socioemotional problems, physical health problems, and developmental delays. Sadly, this is the reality for too many children in our urban Indianapolis neighborhoods. While on the surface the future appears bleak for these children, they do have a chance for a brighter future. That’s where we step in. We envision ProAct Indy as an engaging and enriching organization through which youth build a foundation of integrity, humility, and confidence. These young people will start their journey with us in elementary school and continue through high school, emerging as responsible, thoughtful, and determined leaders who respond actively and intelligently to social issues they encounter. Participants build an ethic of teamwork plus the individual drive to learn, design, plan, and execute meaningful service work. We further envision ProAct Indy as an instrumental partner for community sites distributed across Indianapolis. We will serve several neighborhoods so our participants may learn about different communities, but we will focus on a consistent collection of neighborhoods so we can achieve and observe change in those neighborhoods from year to year. ProAct Indy will be known for running projects that engage local residents, harness the skills of ProAct Indy’s youth leaders, and make a measurable impact on important social issues over several years.
$25,000  Funded  Inspire